service animal/assistance animal/guide dog/Seeing Eye dog

Service animals are trained animals, mostly dogs, which provide services to people with disabilities. They also are sometimes called assistance animals, guide dogs, or Seeing Eye dogs.

The federal definition of a “service animal” applies to “any guide dog, signal dog or other animal trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.” This may include animals that guide individuals with impaired vision, alert individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, provide minimal protection or rescue work, pull a wheelchair or fetch dropped items. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act, regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified.  For more information, go to Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA, a document prepared by the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section.

Service animal, assistance animal and guide dog all are acceptable.

Avoid use of Seeing Eye dog as Seeing Eye is a registered trademark of The Seeing Eye school in Morristown, N.J. Be aware that the issue of licensure and/or certification of service animals is a contentious issue in the disability community, so it may be best to refer to the federal definition.


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